|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Overall, Sturmgeschütz series assault guns proved very successful and served on all fronts as assault guns and tank destroyers. Although Tigers and Panthers have earned a greater notoriety, assault guns collectively destroyed more tanks. Because of their low silhouette, StuG IIIs were easy to camouflage and a difficult target. Sturmgeschütz crews were considered to be the elite of the artillery units. Sturmgeschütz units held a very impressive record of tank kills – some 20,000 enemy tanks by the spring of 1944.As of April 10, 1945, there were 1,053 StuG IIIs and 277 StuH 42s in service. Approximately 9,500 StuG IIIs of various types were produced until March 1945 by Alkett and a small number by MIAG.
In terms of the resources expended in their construction, the StuG assault guns were extremely cost-effective compared to the heavier German tanks, though in the anti-tank role, it was best used defensively, as the lack of a turret would be a severe disadvantage out in the open. As the German military situation deteriorated later in the war, more and more StuG guns were constructed in comparison to tanks, in an effort to replace losses and bolster defences against the encroaching Allied forces.
In 1944, the Finnish Army received 59 StuG III Ausf. Gs from Germany (30 Stu 40 Ausf.G and 29 StuG III Ausf. G) and used them against the Soviet Union. These destroyed at least 87 enemy tanks for a loss of only 8 StuGs (some of these were destroyed by their crews to avoid capture). After the war, they were the main combat vehicles of the Finnish Army until the early 1960s. These StuGs gained the nickname "Sturmi" which can be found in some plastic kit models.
StuG IIIs were also exported to other nations like Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Spain.
Many German Sturmgeschütz IIIs were captured by Yugoslav Partisans. After the war, they were used by the Yugoslav Peoples Army until the 1950s.
After the Second World War, the Soviet Union donated some of their captured German vehicles to Syria, which continued to use them at least until the Six Days War (1967).
Today, examples have been kept in running condition, including one seen in the movie Mr. Bean's Holiday.
StuG III Ausf. G (Sd.Kfz. 142/1; Dec 1942– Apr 1945, 7,720 produced, 173 converted from Pz.Kpfw. III chassis): The final, and by far the most common, of the StuG series. The Ausf. G used the hull of the Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M. Upper superstructure was widened: welded boxes on either sides were abandoned. This new superstructure design increased its height to 2160mm. From May 1943, side hull skirts (schurzen) were fitted to G models for added armor protection particularly against anti-tank rifles. Side skirts were retro-fitted to some Ausf. F/8 models. Side skirts were also to be fitted to all front line StuGs and tanks by June 1943 in preparation for the battle of Kursk. Mountings for side skirts proved inadequate, many were lost. From March 44, improved mounting was introduced, as a result side skirts are more often seen with late model Ausf G. From May 1943, 80mm thick plates were used for frontal armor instead of two plates of 50mm+30mm. However, backlog of completed 50mm armors exited. For those, 30mm additional armors still had to be welded or bolted on, until Oct 1943.
This is another of Dragon's fine Smart Kit productions. These kits provide you with photo-etch (and in this case that includes very nicely done steel side skirts) and individual track links in the box. This means no need for expensive aftermarket items, though there are those who are rarely satisfied with what comes in the kit and will want the super detail sets. The list of features is quite long and includes:
- Side-skirt armor produced in metal for scale thickness
- Slide-molded engine deck
- StuG.III Early Production fighting compartment and MG shield authentically reproduced
- Cannon can be elevated up or down
- Multi-directional Slide-molded superstructure w/bolt detail
- Slide-molded mantlet w/realistic weld seams and internal surface detail
- Chamfer in lower part of mantlet
- Gun w/full breech assembly
- Slide-molded Gun sleeve w/screw details
- Gun sight and hand wheels included
- Complete Gun mount represented
- Slide-molded muzzle brake
- One-piece barrel
- Gun breech and recoil guard fully reproduced
- recoil and recuperator cylinders truly represented
- All bolt heads on frontal armor shown at differing angles
- Upper hull easy to assemble
- Multi-piece Upper hull for maximum detail
- Radio set and seats are included
- Hatches can be assembled open/closed
- Driver's vision port w/clear plastic part
- One-piece driver's vision port armor w/bolt detail
- Commander's hatch w/interior details can be assembled open/closed
- Steering brake inspection hatch can be modeled open/closed
- Roof armor w/accurate weld seam
- screw heads accurately reproduced
- Air-deflector realistically represented
- Photo-etched mesh included
- Fender details made from Photo-etched parts
- Fenders made by Slide molds w/both Upper and lower surface detail
- Fender pattern is accurately portrayed
- Floor treadplate pattern correctly done
- Cooling Air intakes are Slide-molded
- Photo-etched Air-intake grills
- Antenna base w/correct shape
- Air-intake covers w/mounts accurately reproduced
- Detailed suspension swing arms
- Slide-molded hydraulic shock absorbers extremely well Detailed
- One-piece Slide-molded lower hull w/superb details
- lower hull sides w/full detail
- fully Detailed hull bottom weld seams
- Jack is reproduced w/multiple parts
- OVM w/molded-on clamps
- Slide-molded torsion bars included
- Detailed track tension adjuster
- Idler wheels w/Photo-etched parts
- Road wheels w/accurate details
- accurate sprocket wheels
- Final-drive housing covers are made from separate parts for maximum detail
- Exhaust pipes w/hollow ends
- Smoke-grenade launchers offer loaded or empty options
- Slide-molded periscopic Gun sight made from clear part
- Tool box w/padlock produced by Slide molds
- Cable heads Slide-molded
- Newly designed Notek light
- Commander's cupola periscopes made from clear parts
- 40cm Magic Tracks
Markings are provided for six different vehicles, all with a base color of Panzer Yellow. From the top left there is one from 2.Pzr Division in Normady during 1944, Pz Grenadier Div 'Das Reich' at Kursk in 1943, 3./Pz Abt 302 in Warsaw during 1944, 12 Pz.Div in Estonia during 1944, 3 Pz.Gren Div in Italy during 1943 and PzGrenDiv 'Totenkopf' at Kursk in 1943. Instructions are well drawn with 18 construction steps. Decals are nicely printed for those few vehicles that will use them.
Here is yet another fine kit from Dragon and at a price that is quite reasonable for all you get in the box. These vehicles sell well so get yours while the getting is good.
February 2010 Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors. Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page